Letter: It's disappointing to see Cramer cast doubt on election integrity

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I was very disappointed to hear Sen. Kevin Cramer’s comments on Fox News and his tweets disparaging the rights for mail in voting. I am in the military and have maintained my North Dakota residency, paid North Dakota state taxes, and voted using an absentee North Dakota ballot for over 28 years. Even while stationed overseas or in combat deployments, I kept up with North Dakota politics to ensure I was informed; to be responsible when exercising my right to vote.

Simply put, Cramer wrongly thinks that mail in voting leads to “ballot harvesting.” The reality is that if you mail your ballot, it goes via the Post Office to the election officials. Ballot harvesting is when a third party intercedes to forward/move the ballot. So, mail in ballots are not “harvested.”

But why is there an attack on my mail in voting rights? Cramer provides an illogical argument that it would lead to “ballot harvesting” like “in California." What does that mean, who is doing it, and how bad is the threat to our elections? The Heritage Foundation notes that “ballot harvesting” is associated with the delivery of ballots by third parties to election officials.

In California, Republican Carl DeMaio, a San Diego City Council member, used a “Republican Ballot Harvesting Program” in the 50th District primary. He lost in the primary. In the North Carolina 9th District, Republican Mark Miller hired a political operative to gather absentee ballots. The gentleman discarded ballots that leaned Democratic or changed ballots altogether. The operative was arrested and indicted. The electoral and legal system worked to punish this operative and protect our elections. In both cases, local residents understood what was right and wrong and local authorities dealt with it.

The Constitution gives the states the power to conduct elections. Cramer would like to insert the federal government into our business of local elections and prevent mail in ballots because of a made up threat. We elect our commissioners to run our elections. We know these commissioners, we work and live next to them. They run fair and free elections for North Dakota. People in North Dakota should not be held to the whims of Senate leaders from Texas, Florida or even Kentucky to know what is right for North Dakota voters. Our elected leaders must do better and Cramer must protect the rights for mail-in voting.

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